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Letter from President Reif: Commitments to our community

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Letter from President Reif: Commitments to our community

We are building a culture in which raising concerns is accepted, effective and safe.
It became clear last year that many at MIT, especially staff and students, do not feel they can safely report behavior that is out of bounds, whether concerning the safety of our students, the integrity of our research or risks to the Institute’s reputation.
In response, I asked Vice President and General Counsel Mark DiVincenzo to consider potential solutions. He charged a working group, led by Professor David Singer, to review MIT’s hotline process, the potential for a separate whistleblower policy and the effectiveness of our existing policy that prohibits retaliation against those who raise concerns. In September, the group made a number of recommendations to Academic Council, from simplifying the hotline reporting system to publishing an annual report about hotline usage to improving how we inform our community about the hotline as a trusted resource. The group made several important policy recommendations as well, including updating Policies and Procedures and the Mind and Hand Book to more fully address this issue (such as specifically using the word “whistleblower,” adding examples of retaliation and clarifying protections for those involved in the complaint resolution process). With Academic Council’s enthusiastic endorsement, implementation of all of these recommendations is now complete or well underway.
We are also working to develop thoughtful processes to address a tension between our commitment to transparency in addressing unwelcome and inappropriate behavior, and respect for the privacy of those involved when there is a complaint. Led by Mark DiVincenzo and Associate Provost Tim Jamison, a working group has been considering this issue for several months and will soon recommend enhancements to how we share with our community information regarding complaints.

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